World Bulletin / News Desk
Bulgarian border police regularly beat Syrian asylum seekers and force them back into Turkey, Human Right’s Watch (HRW) claimed on Thursday.
Human Rights Watch reported of three separate cases of at least 43 Syrian’s summary returns from Bulgaria to Turkey over the last month.
The Bulgarian government has repeatedly refused to comment, says the HRW.
“Sharif”, a member of a 22-person group of Syrians, who were caught by Bulgarian border police after they crossed Bulgaria’s border with Turkey, spoke to the Human Rights Watch.
According to “Sharif’s” (real name not stated) statements and the NGO’s report, the group was searched by the border guards, who later took their money, mobile phones and other goods. Young men in the group were beaten as well.
The police then drove them back to the Turkish border.
Another case reported comes from August 30, when another group of 15 Syrians was caught by Bulgarian border police. The police allegedly held the group for three hours without any procedures and beat up at least nine members of the group, according to “Mohamed’s” statement used in the report.
The third case involved a group of 16 people, including two families with five children, who were caught by Bulgarian border police on September 7. “Hussein” told the Human Rights Watch that when they got caught by border police, they took their phones, money, food, water and beat the men with their hands and batons.
“Beating people who may be seeking asylum and then forcing them back across the border is plain wrong, and illegal,” said Lydia Gall, Balkans and Eastern Europe researcher at Human Rights Watch.
“The EU should press Sofia to keep its borders open to Syrians and other asylum seekers and to put an end to these abusive practices.”
Human Rights Watch had earlier reported on pushback and abuse of asylum seekers and migrants in Bulgaria, including those from Syria. In a report released April, titled “Containment Plan”, the NGO documented 44 incidents concerning at least 519 people, who were detained and deported by Bulgarian border police.
Some of the cases involved use of violence by the police, including beating and gunfire.Last Mod: 18 Eylül 2014, 17:29